Friday, September 7, 2012

Deaf Mom Issues



Deaf and being a Mom: How (do) I handle it? 
Being a Deaf mom is not as difficult as I thought it would be. I am able to take care of my son with help from technology and my husband, Stu. It is certainly a learning curve for anyone, Deaf or not, to be a parent! I absolutely love having a vibrating monitor by Graco to alert me during the night or nap-time when Forrest is up and needs to be fed. It is not difficult to burp Forrest after his feeding because I can feel his little body when he's burping. I know when he's eating by the feel of his jaws moving and little gulping motion that he makes while feeding. 

The most common thing I get all of the time is whether Forrest is Deaf or hearing impaired. My answer is no. Forrest has passed his hearing test, and is not Deaf. Does this bother me? No. If he does end up having some kind of hearing impairment then again, it won't bother me. 

People ask me this: How will you ever communicate with him? What an excellent question this is.  

How does Spanish parents communicate with their children? In their own language at home, of course, and encouraging their kids to speak English outside their home. This is exactly what we are doing with Forrest. He will be bilingual. He will know both ASL at home and spoken English. I am already signing to Forrest. He is still too young to comprehend or pick up language right now, however, it is already establishing in his mind that a language is being communicated. 

The next questions or rather statements that are being made by people is what bugs me as a Deaf mom. The statement is: Well, you should consider Cochlear Implant or some form of hearing aids to hear your son or You should speak to your son so he can pick up English or sounds. 

First of all, I do not need any kind of hearing aids or cochlear implant, not that I have personal anything against it, and it is just that it is not necessary for my lifestyle. To even suggest that I should have some form of auditory aid to have a relationship with my son is offensive. How does this teach my son that diversity or being different is acceptable? I do not want to convey a message to Forrest that my deafness is something to be fixed or rather be ashamed about. While I do miss out on sweet sounds that Forrest may make as a baby,  him uttering his first spoken words, and what his voice may sound like, I have already accepted that, and am okay with missing out on this. I do not feel a pang of sadness about this loss mainly because I have never heard a sound to begin with. Therefore, there is no reason for anyone to feel sorry for something I never had to begin with.

I would imagine it might be very different if I DID have some hearing then lost it or if I already had hearing aids as a part of my lifestyle from the very start then I might would have wanted to hear Forrest.

Secondly, I don't see a need to learn to speak to convey English language or even sounds to my son. To put this delicately as possible, most Deaf people do not have clear speech, and their hearing children often have speech impediment as a result. I am cognizant enough to know that my speech is obviously unclear and unintelligible. Does this embarrass me? No. It's the truth. I have accepted that. Therefore, why on the earth would I want to hinder my son's speech development when there's my husband, who is hearing and has clear speech, to communicate spoken English to him. Stuart talks to Forrest daily about his day or read a story to him. This is how Forrest will pick up on the sounds and speech development.

On the other hand, there is my language that I want to teach Forrest and have him learn it. Naturally, I sign to Forrest. I talk to him with my hands constantly. His eyes follow my hands. So I know he's watching even though he may not understand what I am saying right now. Stu and I sign to each other in front of Forrest. It is to incorporate the teaching that our home will be both ASL and spoken English oriented.

Again, all this points to bilingualism which promotes understanding of diversity. The lesson in this is to teach Forrest acceptance. 

8 comments :

  1. Great post!! Forrest has great parents :) its clear to see already that he is going to be raised with great values.

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  2. Most hearing people just don't get it. I know lots of hearing kids who grew up with deaf parents and they all turn out fine! LOL

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  3. this is going to be silly, but i had no idea you were deaf!! I wondered why you had a lot of posts about it :) thats actually really cool that your son will get to learn sign language!! that will help him later in life as well!!

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  4. Hehehe...I didn't know you had an obsession with zombies!

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  5. I've only just discovered your blog - through one of your comments on the Little Baby Garvin blog - and I just have to tell you how inspiring you are!! Wow. Good on you for sticking to what you believe in and not letting anyone tell you otherwise. Your post has made my day :)
    Claudia :)

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  6. I think you will have the most amazing well rounded son!

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